While Asheville has a few common characteristics throughout the city, the particular neighborhood you choose may be a little distinctive, a little special. For instance, Asheville, in general, has a bit of a hippie flair as well as a foodie destination appeal, but in some parts of town, you’ll find lots of vegan and vegetarian eats, and in other parts, you’ll find tons of high-quality food from other countries.
The truth, though, is that every neighborhood brings something unique to the table: a history of connected roots for working-class families, stately mansions with tons of charm, and everything in between.
In Asheville, there aren’t a set number of neighborhoods that are strictly delineated, but a few are well-known for their distinctions from the areas around them, even if there are some micro-neighborhoods we don’t have listed here.
We’re always learning more about Asheville, just like the visitors and residents that love this city. Check out these options for where to stay in Asheville, as well as where you might want to live if you move here!
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North of downtown Asheville is a nice combination set of neighborhoods. While most spots in North Asheville are less than 15 minutes to downtown, they offer more single-family housing, historic homes, and a variety of shops and amenities, primarily along Merrimon Avenue. Check out these options for some great ideas for where to stay in Asheville, NC.
1. Explore a Bed-and-Breakfast Haven in Montford
To the north and a little to the west of downtown, you’ll find the historic homes district of Montford. This area is full of historic homes, many of which have been well-preserved and beautifully renovated, and it’s an area where many small inns and bed and breakfasts have popped up – if you want truly charming lodgings, this is a great spot to aim for.
The area is mostly residential but is walkable to some restaurants and High Five Coffee on Broadway, with some parts of Montford being within walking distance to the Botanical Gardens and the UNCA campus.
2. Find More Historical Charm and Central Location in 5 Points
Immediately next to Montford is 5 Points, a neighborhood known for its diversity and also for having some of the same craftsman-style homes that you’ll find in Montford. This community really came into its own as Asheville became a city, a place for people to live when they commuted into the city for work.
It’s the location of a group of grocery stores that serve all of North Asheville – Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, which keeps the roads bustling nearby. If you want to feel like you’re part of the long-term crew in Asheville, stop by 5 Points Restaurant for delicious homemade American food.
3. Enjoy the Golf and the Views at Lakeview Park
The neighborhood that borders the Country Club of Asheville, Lakeview Park, includes some of the most stunning and opulent houses in town. However, the beautiful homes and the wonderful golf course aren’t the only parts of Lakeview Park.
The neighborhood is named for beautiful Beaver Lake, a private lake that has walking trails and fishing opportunities, though because it is private, it’s important for anyone who isn’t a resident to know the most recent rules for using the lake, including things like not bringing outside dogs and getting any necessary permits to fish.
In general, this neighborhood is in high demand and very beautiful, and with a throughline to downtown in the form of Merrimon Avenue, it’s still a fairly central location.
4. Get to Know the Wellness District in Chestnut Hills
North of downtown, east of 5 Points, and south of Lakeview Park and a few other small and lovely neighborhoods lies Chestnut Hills. This neighborhood, like much of North Asheville, offers a lot of historic craftsman-style homes, but it is also the home to a growing “Wellness District,” with many massage and bodywork businesses located in this area.
The Asheville Yoga Center offers many classes as well as major retreats and workshops about yoga, and the Asheville Salt Cave and other spas and wellness treatment locations are all in this same neighborhood.
Just a bit south, you’ll find the Asheville YMCA, and right in the neighborhood on Charlotte Street, you’ll find the Asheville Jewish Community Center, with both offering aquatic facilities, children’s programming, and much more. As far as communities that are walkable to quite a few businesses while still being primarily residential, Chestnut Hills is a very nice option.
The most densely urban neighborhoods, as usual, are in the middle of Asheville, and while there are some single-family homes here, this is primarily a district for businesses, apartments, and condos.
As with so many cities, Asheville has dealt with an affordable housing crisis, and a variety of efforts to bring more reasonably priced housing to downtown and nearby neighborhoods have occurred. As it stands, though, this is a great place to stay when you’re visiting from out of town: there are multiple excellent hotels, allowing for easy walkability to the various restaurants and bars.
The main downtown parks, Pritchard Park and Pack Square, offer great walkable green space and outdoor events, and you’ll find that tourism buses like the Grey Line and LaZoom can give you a good tour of the compact central areas so that you can get your bearings and learn a little history along the way. If your goal is to live in downtown, new condos and apartments are in the works for the coming years, so stay tuned even if everything is full right now.
5. Experience the Creative Renaissance in the River Arts District
I’ve been traveling to Asheville for more than 15 years now, and now that I live here, I still marvel at the renewal and vigor of the River Arts District. What was once a quiet part of the city with few businesses and little activity has blossomed into a network of artists’ studios that are also sales spaces, as well as a thriving greenway, lots of coffee shops and restaurants, and some fun nightlife options, including two wine bars.
I’d say it is still not really a residential district, though some of the new builds in the area have included apartments and condos above the commercial spaces. Apartments can be found just outside the district in downtown, and there are some single-family homes in the micro-neighborhood known as Chicken Hill, which borders both downtown and the RAD.
In general, it’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon: start with some lunchtime tacos at White Duck, walk the greenway down to see the galleries, sip a glass of wine at Pleb or grab a cup of coffee at Grind, and have dinner at Bull and Beggar.
6. Live the Walkability Life in Downtown
Downtown Asheville has a lot to recommend it for both visitors who want to walk to everything and people who want a bit of that “city life” when they move to Asheville. There are a variety of options for condos and apartment living, with more construction happening to make downtown more of a destination for living.
There are many attractions, some downtown parks, and enough food to eat somewhere new every week for a year without ever repeating. Other nice options are places like the French Broad Food Co-Op, a downtown grocery store that specializes in local, sustainable, and healthy foods with a substantial bulk section for those who want to waste less trash and plastic.
Downtown does have some panhandlers, like in most cities, but it also is the hub for some of Asheville’s non-profits serving disadvantaged populations, so good work is being done for the low-income residents of this city.
7. Find the Best of the Breweries in South Slope
South Slope represents an industrial/business district of town that has been reclaimed as a downtown-like space. There are a variety of townhomes, condos, and apartments available, but the majority of the local businesses beyond that are breweries, restaurants, and venues like the Orange Peel and Rabbit Rabbit.
If you’re an early-to-bed type person, make sure you get an honest read on how loud your residence would be in this neighborhood! However, for people wanting a little bit of a break compared to the costs of renting in downtown but who also want to be able to walk to all the fun nightlife, South Slope is a great compromise, and it’s just a little bit further south, making it a good fit if you’re commuting that direction.
As Asheville has prospered as a tourism destination over the past decade or so, West Asheville has become a haven for the long-term quirky style that is still a little bit in the DNA of the whole city. Businesses with vibrant street art murals on the sides dot Haywood Street, and small coffee shops, bars, and restaurants are doing their part to “Keep Asheville Weird.”
Art and music are very important to this part of the city, and you’re sure to find galleries as well as art on display at coffee shops and bars. While Haywood Street proper is probably the West Asheville area you’re most likely to encounter, there are other neighborhoods in the western portion of the city that are well worth knowing about.
8. Experience Community and African-American History in Burton Street
The neighborhood around Burton Street is a key portion of Asheville’s history and the Black legacy of community and success in Asheville. The area includes both historical houses and new builds that have been constructed as in-fill, since people get to know this community and want to be a part of it.
One of the centers of the community is the Burton Street Community Center, which used to be a school but now features a playground and various sporting facilities, as well as many activities, classes, and community events. Next door is the Peace Gardens, run by Hood Huggers International, a thriving artistic community garden you have to see to begin to understand.
9. Be Cool in the Pool at Malvern Hills
A little farther west and you’ll find yourself by the Patton Avenue DMV (we’ve all had to do our time there, ha) and the lovely neighborhood of Malvern Hills. There’s a variety of residential housing here, and one of the city’s two public pools, the Malvern Hills pool, is here.
The sidewalks and winding streets make this area a great place for families, and there are a variety of great architectural options, with homes built in styles ranging from cottages and bungalows to mid-century modern ranches. The neighborhood stands right next door to the prestigious Asheville School campus, and you’ll fall in love with the beautiful lawns and shady trees of this quieter neighborhood.
10. Learn About Habitat Community in Carney Place
Carney Place is by far the smallest neighborhood we’re mentioning, with only 22 homes, but there’s a reason why it is a special place to recognize – I personally hope that more micro-neighborhoods like Carney Place become available around town!
Between 2011 and 2013, this neighborhood was built by Habitat for Humanity and the many people who would eventually live in the homes: part of getting a Habitat for Humanity house is that you put in a certain amount of “sweat equity,” where the future owners work with the skilled tradespeople to build the houses themselves. The resulting homes are very energy efficient to keep bills low over time, and they come with affordable payments toward eventually owning the home outright.
East Asheville offers a wonderful combination of shopping districts and more rural living, since once you get outside of the Central Asheville bubble, Buncombe County includes quite a lot of wide-open spaces and rolling mountain landscapes.
There are great options for places to live and stay out this way, and the further out you get, the more options you have for commuting to either Asheville or working in a community like Swannanoa or Black Mountain.
11. Come for the Community and Schools in Haw Creek
Haw Creek is a fairly large (7,000 households) neighborhood in East Asheville, but it really leaves the city behind and feels more rural and open than many of the close-to-downtown neighborhoods. It’s a diverse community with a long-standing tradition of associating, with the Haw Creek Community Association forming in 1983.
The neighborhood is known for some great schools as well as many community events to keep Haw Creek looking beautiful and to gather and get to know neighbors. It’s one of the many beautiful and vibrant places to raise a family in the Asheville area.
12. Find Plenty of Parks and Other Draws in Oakley
This neighborhood features more than 2,000 homes, so it’s a common place for people to mention as their neighborhood. Oakley has its own public library and elementary school, as well as a park with a substantial baseball complex.
Residents are diverse and the neighborhoods themselves range from being more close urban-style streets to areas with larger homes and lawns. This neighborhood is convenient to lots of shops, including the Asheville Mall, major shopping centers with big-box stores, and nearby Biltmore Village as well.
Another fun nearby attraction is the Western NC Nature Center, where an affordable yearly membership makes for a great place to take kids just a few minutes from Oakley.
13. Learn the Heritage at Shiloh
Shiloh is a southeastern neighborhood that has roots in the African-American community in the 1880s, and descendants of the original neighbors still live in this area. The neighborhood is primarily low-income and middle-income working families, and efforts by the community organization to prioritize strong housing, health education, gardening, and intergenerational connections have helped the community to knit closely together – between both those whose roots are in the area and new people who have moved to the area.
14. Find it All in Kenilworth
With less than 2 miles between Kenilworth’s southeastern location and downtown and Biltmore Estate, it makes sense that a thriving and vibrant community has arisen in this area. From a variety of churches and bed and breakfasts to Kenilworth Lake and the Harvest House Center, there are plenty of draws to bring people to this neighborhood, and the housing options are diverse too.
There are apartments, condos, and single-family homes, and they range from recent builds to Victorians. It’s a popular area for those who are in retirement as well as for young families, creating a cross-section. A beautiful building, the Kenilworth Inn, that has stood for over 100 years in the neighborhood, now offers 93 apartments and is on the National Register of Historic Places!
You’ll find that once you head south of downtown, Asheville gains a lot more of a standard suburban feeling – anywhere from the medical district down to Arden is going to have a lot of amenities and comforts you’d find in any small- to medium-sized city. While there are many smaller neighborhoods, we’ll highlight one of the larger ones.
15. Enjoy Life in Biltmore Park
The neighborhoods around the Biltmore Estate are some of the most beautiful and lavish spaces in Asheville, working hard to live up to the tradition of aesthetic excellent set by the country’s largest private residence, Biltmore Estate itself.
Biltmore Park features beautiful, coordinated buildings and lots of options for dining and shopping. It’s also not far from Mission Hospital, and many of the local medical practices are in the same area for proximity to the major hospital – if you work in healthcare, South Asheville may be a convenient place to settle in due to the plethora of healthcare jobs in that particular zone.
While many of these neighborhoods are residential and named mostly because their local residents chose to organize and recognize the neighborhood’s history, there are truly great options for lodging all over Asheville. When looking for the best areas to stay in Asheville, it’s often best to work backward.
If you’re here for the breweries and downtown eating, choose a hotel in downtown or a rental in South Slope to be within walking distance of everything. If you’re looking for great hiking, consider looking at a map of the Blue Ridge Parkway and finding a rental or hotel near it – the Parkway edges around the eastern portion of the city and turns to go through South Asheville.
By staying close to the Parkway, you have easy access to a beautiful drive in the countryside. In general, though, there are many advantages of all the best neighborhoods in Asheville, so you’re likely to find fun and adventure no matter where you choose to base yourself!
There you have it! Our guide to all of the neighborhoods in Asheville. What are your favorite Asheville neighborhoods? Let us know so we can give them a try!
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